Pennsylvania man shoots girlfriend before ending life as he was upset after losing job amid coronavirus crisis
WILSON BOROUGH, PENNSYLVANIA: A 38-year-old man in Pennsylvania shot his longtime girlfriend in the back before shooting himself in an attempted murder-suicide on March 30. Reports state that Roderick Bliss IV took the drastic step after losing his job and being overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Northampton County Police said that Bliss, in the days leading up to the incident, had become increasingly upset about the coronavirus outbreak in the country and the loss of his employment.
The crime was discovered after Wilson Borough police received a call from a resident on North 17th Street at around 1.19 pm on March 30 reporting that three shots were fired. The officials classified the incident as an attempted murder-suicide, the Daily Mail reported.
Authorities, after reaching the crime scene, found Bliss unresponsive with a semi-automatic pistol near his body, police Chief Chris Meehan said. They also found Bliss' 43-year-old girlfriend, who has not been identified, with a gunshot to her back. She told the police that Bliss had shot her but she was conscious and alert. She recounted that Bliss went into the property's basement just minutes before the shooting and emerged into the porch with a handgun.
"I already talked to God and I have to do this," he allegedly said before opening fire at his girlfriend as she attempted to run from the porch. He shot at her four times, striking her once in the back, before allegedly turning the gun on himself. The woman underwent surgery in St Luke's Hospital and is currently in an intensive care unit with non-life threatening injuries.
District Attorney Terry Houck, in a statement, said, "She isn't a suspect in any way shape or form, she's a victim." Bliss' death was ruled a suicide by Northampton County Coroner Zach Lysek.
Police chief Meehan, in a statement, said, "In the days prior to the shooting, Bliss had become increasingly upset over the COVID-19 pandemic. Minutes before the shooting, Bliss was extremely upset about the pandemic and the fact that he had recently lost his job. He went into the basement and came outside onto the rear porch with the victim. While holding the handgun, Bliss told the victim, 'I already talked to God and I have to do this'. The victim ran off the porch and he shot at her four times striking her once. Bliss then shot himself."
It is not yet clear whether Bliss lost his job because of the implications of the coronavirus crisis.
Mental health experts have warned about the cognitive repercussions of the pandemic that can plague people living in self-isolation, especially those who have lost their jobs.
A suicide crisis hotline in Los Angeles has reportedly received over 1,500 calls about coronavirus, stating that calls linked to the deadly virus and its societal repercussions have had a 75-fold hike over the past month.
Didi Hirsch's Suicide Crisis Line, an organization that runs one of the largest suicide line call centers in the US, also warned that the current numbers could significantly increase over the coming weeks as people break under the stress of the pressure of lost jobs, nationwide shutdown, and loved ones lost to the novel coronavirus.